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  • The castle of Asen
c. senovgrad. Municipality senovgrad. State Plovdiv.

The medieval castle of Asen is located 3 km to the south of the city of Asenovgrad and is situated on a rocky peak above the left bank of Asenitsa river. The earliest archeological finds are dating from V-IV century BC, when the Thracians has built a rampart here, as they has seen the inaccessability of the terrain. The region of the castle has been inhabited also in the Roman age and in the Middle of the Byzantian age.

The first written information about the castle we find in the Statute of the Bachkovo monastery, where is drawn the "strengthened village of Petrich". During the medieval age the castle of Asen has endured several reconstructions. The most important of them is this in the XII century, which has been done by tsar Ivan Asen II. There is an eight line inscription in Bulgarian language above the entrence of the castle that witnesses the event:

"In the summer of 6739/1231/, indikt 4, the elevated by God - tsar Asen of Bulgarians, Greeks and other countries has placed Aleksi sevasta and has built this town."

In times after that this inscription is a reason the castle in Petrich to be called the castle of Asen, and the town near to the castle - renamed from Stanimaka to Asenovgrad. The huge building in these times is supported by the archeological researches - there has been found the botom of the walls of a castle - a feudal castle, 30 rooms and 3 water stores. The most impressive building in the castle, that is also there in present days, is the church "St. Bogorodica Petrichka" (XIII century). It is a two-storied, cross-domed and with wide narthex, above which there is rising a big square tower. The architectural elegance, the decorative plastic decoration of the south facade and the unique wall-paintings (XIV century) are partial saved and they make the temple one of the best models of the medieval Bulgarian church buildings in our lands.

During the reign of the rulers after Asen II the castle has fallen in the hands of the Byzantines, but in 1344 it is finally added to the Bulgarian country by tsar Ivan Alaksandar. After the faiing of Bulgaria under Turkish slavery the castle lose its strategic importance as a border castle. The object is served by a guide.


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